Decision for total ban on child labour draws applause

The Hindu, 29 August 2012 - Social activists and organisations working in the area of child welfare have welcomed the proposal cleared by the Indian Union Cabinetto amend the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, making employment of children below the age of 14 a cognizable offence, and imposing a ban on employment of children below 14 years in any industry - hazardous or non-hazardous.

The proposal also includes a ban on employing children below 18 years in hazardous industries. At present children under the age of 14 years are prohibited from employment only in hazardous industry.

Bachpan Bachao Andolan’s (BBA) Rakesh Senger said: “We welcome the Government's move to amend the Act. This is a remarkable success for all the civil society organisations who have been consistently fighting for the amendment. Now, along with Government, it is the responsibility of all political parties to support the proposed amendment Bill.”

BBA founder Kailash Satyarthi, stating that his organisation has been fighting for a complete ban on child labour since its inception in 1980, said: “With merely making a law one cannot prevent social injustice and crime. Here the Government, the civil society, employers, private organisations have to shoulder the responsibility and work towards the elimination of child labour.”

Calling it a step in the right direction, non-government organisation Save the Children in a release issued noted: “The decision gives child rights groups a lot of encouragement in their efforts to make India a child-labour free country. The amendment is also in line with the International Labour Organisation convention on child labour that seeks to provide minimum age of employment and says that no children below the age of 14 should be employed.”

Save the Children chief executive officer Thomas Chandy said: “The decision to ban all forms of child labour below 14 years will also strengthen the enforcement of the Right to Education Act, 2009, which mandates free and compulsory education of all children in the agegroup of 6-14 years.” “We would like to underline that after passing of this amendment, we need to focus on the implementation of the law. We must ensure that our child protection mechanisms like the Integrated Child Protection Scheme and agencies including the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and Child Welfare Committees are strengthened and provided full support to by the Government, he added.”

Read also:

>> India moves to ban all forms of child labour (Child Labour Free India, 28th August 2012)

>> Finally, the will for the right ban (The Hindu, 31st August 2012)